Human rights activist accuses police of cover-up in Goa murder

A prominent human rights activist accused Indian police of a cover-up in their investigation into the rape and killing of a British teenager on a Goa beach last month.

A prominent human rights activist accused Indian police of a cover-up in their investigation into the rape and killing of a British teenager on a Goa beach last month.

Scarlett Keeling’s bruised and partially clothed body was found on February 18 on Anjuna beach in Goa.

Police initially said Scarlett drowned because she was drunk, but pressure from her family forced a second post-mortem examination that indicated she may have been raped and killed.

Nirmala Venkatesh, a member of the government-appointed National Commission of Women, visited the beach over the weekend and met Scarlett’s mother, Fiona MacKeown, and police officers investigating the case.

Ms Venkatesh told reporters the investigation was not on the right track.

“Police are trying to hide the facts of the case and close it. We will never allow this to happen,” she said.

ms Venkatesh said she would meet in New Delhi with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi, the governing Congress party chief, to demand justice.

Police have arrested two men in connection with Scarlett’s death. The suspects were allegedly seen drinking at the bar with her the night she died.

Lui’s Shack – a beach-side bar where Scarlett was last reported seen on February 18 – was demolished before police completed investigating the case.

Kishen Kumar, the inspector-general of police, said officers were investigating and would question the bar’s owner.

“The demolition of the shack was a serious matter. It should have been there until at least the investigation was over,” Mr Kumar said.

Ms MacKeown has alleged that police and local government officials colluded with criminals involved with a local drug ring to cover up her daughter’s rape and killing.

Scarlett had been on holiday in India with her mother, her mother’s boyfriend, and her six siblings. Her family was travelling elsewhere in India when she was killed.

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